Platforms like Zoom offer huge flexibility and convenience when holding remote meetings but sometimes it’s really nice to be able to get together face-to-face. With face-to-face meetings it can be easier to communicate with people as body language is very important and it helps us understand each other better. Because of this the GRoW Team decided we would run a regular face-to-face session that combines our CV Workshop, Job Search Workshop and Interview Coaching Workshop into one. It’s called the Employability Skills Workshop and we hold it at the GRoW HQ at the Winning Box, Hayes.
Speaking of the Employability Skills Workshop GRoW’s Sonia Puri said; “We were finding that some of our GRoW participants were sometimes struggling with Zoom. There can be issues around computer access and language barriers. Some of our participants speak English as a second language and so when holding meetings remotely it could be more difficult to understand each other. We thought that it would be great to be able to offer a face-to-face event where everyone could get together in one place and experience the three workshops in a condensed format over a 4 hour period. So far we have held two events and we have been really pleased with the result.
“During the session we have three GRoW Advisers available to support participants. We do some work around confidence building and then we start with the CV workshop, doing some practical work together, presenting examples of CVs and how to make them stand out. It’s great to see people talking together, feeling comfortable in each other’s company.
“We were able to do so many more activities than we can do on Zoom as we were all in the room together. We did a role playing activity and talked about the importance of body language, especially in an interview situation. We gave examples of how to listen on telephone calls with the ‘smile as you dial’ approach. Everyone was so engaged and had answers ready to the mock interview questions such as ‘tell me about yourself?’ It was so much fun and everyone felt more confident. We also did a mind map activity where participants put their name in the middle and mapped around the outside all of their skills and achievements. We found that on a Zoom call; not everyone had been able to do these types of activities and it was really great to see everyone helping each other and sharing ideas and feeling more positive at the end of it. The information we collected from the mindmaps enabled us to gather all the information we needed to do the mock interviews.”
“Saeema and Deonna were on hand throughout the session to answer people’s individual questions and we gave everyone a takeaway document that had all of the information they need to refer to afterwards.”
Habiba who attended the event said; “As a single mum I want to get back into work and I need support and guidance on how I can take these steps as I’ve been out of work for a while.
“I attended the face-to-face Employability Workshop for many reasons; I did try to engage with the online Interview session but having little understanding of IT I was very uncomfortable and didn’t feel part of the group and so couldn’t express myself. Doing the workshop face-to-face was more practical and convenient for me. It gave me a reason to leave home and I was able to express myself freely and safely and share my understanding of employability. The workshop was set in a comfortable environment and was very well organised. It was so warming to receive face-to-face support form Sonia and Saeema too.
“I enjoyed the interaction with other mums. I felt like I’m not alone. Listening to other mums and sharing each other’s journey has given me the boost to move forward. It’s given me the motivation and confidence and understanding of the job market. My next step is to complete my CV by Sonia and start looking for a job that fits around my family.
“My message to everyone is don’t be afraid to get support – you are not alone. Taking the first step is a big step for many; it took some time for me to come out. If you are struggling with any of the GRoW online sessions don’t hesitate to ask for face-to-face support as most advisers are flexible and very understanding. They are able to support you especially if English is not your first language.
There are a lot of opportunities so don’t hold yourself back. Reach out for help, whatever your barrier may be!”
GRoW Adviser Saeema said; “The Employability Workshop gave our participants the lift and encouragement to move closer to employment. The idea of the workshop is to support them and eliminate any barriers they may have to access our support online. It has helped them build and understand their skills and knowledge of employability and they now feel more supported. Following the workshop many of the participants are now challenging themselves to find jobs suited to their family lives and feel less alone, looking forward to achieving their goals with the support from their Adviser.”
If you would like to join the next Employability Skills Workshop in May speak to your GRoW Adviser for details on how to sign up.